$30,000 election spend dissected

By Janna Sherman
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Official campaign spending figures show Westland candidates shelled out over $30,000 to woo voters over the course of the 2013 local body elections.
All bar one of the candidates, Max Dowell, who stood unsuccessfully for the Westland seat on Development West Coast, met the deadline to file returns, leaving open the possibility of action being taken.
The Westland’s Future team, led by mayoral hopeful Kyle Scott, parted with the most for its unsuccessful campaign, which included a brochure mailout and venue hire for meetings across the district.
The official election schedule of donations and expenditure, which was posted yesterday, shows the team spent a total of $12,742 in the lead up to the October elections, with each of the six candidates — none of whom were elected — contributing between $1000 and $1700.
Mr Scott filed the biggest return of $4179, and came in as the second highest mayoral campaign spender behind new Westland Mayor Mike Havill, who filed a $5272 return.
His expenditure included hiring one meeting venue in Hokitika, radio advertising and billboards.
The other two candidates in the running, Jackie Grant and Bryce Thomson both spent over $3500 each.
The figures show new Deputy Mayor Pauline Cox ran the largest individual campaign, spending almost $2000.
Four others who were elected — Murray Montagu, Kees van Beek, Jim Butzbach and Greg Hope — said they had not spent a cent, all filing a nil expenditure.
Most of Westland’s regional council runners followed suit, with new councillor Peter McDonnell spending the most, at $95.31.
Former Cr John Wood spent $13, while the other three contenders Stuart Challenger, Thomas Condon and Duncan Davidson recorded zero transactions.
None of the local body candidates filed any donations.
Westland electoral officer Richard Simpson said statements of donations and expenditures were required of all election participants within 55 days of the declaration of results.
The procedure was aimed at transparency and was a prerequisite of the Local Electoral Act.
He said in the result of a non return, as was the case with Mr Dowell, the matter would be treated as an offence and referred to the police.
Mr Dowell told the Guardian yesterday he had no expenses for the election and he was unaware he had to put in a return for a nil
expenditure.